SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo was a remarkable game for a number of reasons when it was released. The game delivered a great tactical shooting experience on the PlayStation Portable as well as excellent online play, two accomplishments that, unfortunately, have been elusive on Sony's handheld. On top of that, Fireteam Bravo introduced new features like real-time voice chat and PSP and PlayStation 2 connectivity. The sequel, aptly named Fireteam Bravo 2, contains all of the same features of the first game, along with a brand-new single-player campaign, slightly refined gameplay, and new and enhanced online multiplayer content. The result is a game that isn't quite as initially impressive as its predecessor, but is still easily one of the best all-around shooters available for the PSP.
With more than 40 weapons in the game, there are plenty of ways to take out your enemies.
Fireteam Bravo 2 once again puts you in the fatigues of Sandman, an elite US Navy SEAL. The single-player campaign takes place in the fictional country of Adjikistan, where paramilitary forces are up to all kinds of no good, including drug and weapons trading, slave labor, and more. It's up to you and one computer-controlled teammate to sneak and shoot through 14 different missions in the campaign. Each mission requires you to complete a handful of objectives such as securing an enemy official, rescuing hostages, collecting intelligence, and destroying enemy assets. In addition to the primary objectives, there are numerous secondary and bonus objectives that you can complete to earn points, which grant you rewards such as new weapons.
This points system provides incentive for you to be thorough and cautious rather than simply rushing through a level blasting everything that moves. The way it works is you earn command equity points for completing nonprimary objectives in each mission. As you rack up the command equity points, you'll have access to some useful bonuses that you can use in the midst of a mission, such as supply drops to replenish your stock of medikits, and air strikes, which can be called in to clear an area of enemies. The counterpart to command equity is local influence. You earn local influence points for safely rescuing civilians during each mission. In exchange for treating the locals well, they'll help you out by giving you black-market weapons and helpful information such as the location of all of the enemies in an area. The local influence and command equity systems work well in Fireteam Bravo 2 because the rewards provided are immediately useful--much more so than the usual unlockable extras that you'll find in other games.
Another interesting and useful bonus feature comes in the form of the cross-talk functionality. Since the story in Fireteam Bravo 2 and the recently released Combined Assault on the PlayStation 2 are intertwined, there are missions that occasionally overlap. In these cases, you can complete special cross-talk objectives in one game, and then sync up the data to alter the course of the same mission in the other game. It's a novel concept but it works well, and it's fun to discover the cleverly designed connections between the two games.
The basic gameplay in Fireteam Bravo remains the same as its predecessor. You play as the commander of a team of two SEALs. You have to make your way through each level completing objectives, but of course you'll encounter plenty of enemies who will do their best to foil your plans. If you prefer, you can try to be stealthy and sneak past enemies, or you can take a more direct approach and just run in, guns blazing. Even if you try to use stealth, you'll eventually have to resort to using force because of the way the levels and mission objectives are designed.
It pays to be nice to civilians, because they'll hook you up with all the best black-market weapons.